Résumé: Preliminary studies conducted on the human gastro-intestinal tract have revealed that enteric viral communities play a preponderant role in microbial homeostatis. However to date, such communities have never been investigated in the fish gut. Herein, we examined the main ecological traits of viruses in the digestive tract of a euryhaline fish, the tilapia Sarotherodon melanotheron. Individuals were collected at 8 different sites in Senegal covering a salinity gradient from 3 to 104 parts per thousand, and showing large disparities in their organic pollutant concentrations. Results showed that the gut of S. melanotheron is home to a highly abundant viral community (0.2-10.7 x 10(9) viruses ml(-1)), distinct from the surrounding water, and essentially composed of phages of which a substantial proportion is temperate (the fraction of lysogenized cells-FLC ranging from 8.1 to 33.0%). Also, a positive and significant correlation was detected between FLC and the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon in sediment, while no clear relationships were found between salinity and any of the microbial parameters considered. Finally, our data suggest that virus-bacteria interactions within the fish intestine are likely sensitive to the presence of particular xenobiotics, which may compromise the balance in the gut microbiota, and subsequently affect the health of their host.